Tanzania/Zanzibar trip report (september)
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Oct 11, 2012 9:08 AM Last Post By: stefo
Oct 5, 2012 11:48 PM
Tanzania/Zanzibar trip report (september)Some info on our trip to TZ & Zanzibar in September.
Car hire & self-drive
we rented a 4x4 via www.safaridrive.com (equipped with a tent etc). Shaw safaris also rents 4x4.
The roads between Arusha/Kilimanjaro airport and the main parks are all tarred and in excellent condition. Except for the centre of Arusha there is not that much traffic on the roads, and driving is not that difficult.
We found the Veronica Roodt sat maps very handy (http://www.africa-maps.co.za/index.htm)
Self-driving in the parks:
The roads in the park vary from a good dust road to quite eroded/bumpy roads, and sometimes you have to cross a small stream (larger streams have bridges), but as you drive slowly it shouldn’t be a problem.
Wildlife of course can cross the road at any time, just don’t speed so you can see an elephant in time and stop
The most nuisance comes from other safari 4x4 who sometimes want to overtake you on a small road etc.
We were afraid we would miss some animals when self-driving, but in the dry season there are so many you really can’t miss them.
And you can also ask park rangers if you want to see a particular species.
if you drive yourself and don’t have a guide/driver, officially you need a ranger for the descent – apparently this needs to be arranged beforehand. But we weren’t aware of this. After some discussion at the crater gate, we were allowed in without a ranger. And in fact, I really don’t see the point of having a ranger with you. The crater floor is really easy to navigate through and there are so many other safari 4x4 around…
Is the descent really worth 200$? Difficult question – we liked Tarangire the best – wildlife aplenty and less crowded with safari cars (we were there in the dry season). But the natural environment of the crater is beautiful.
Momella wildlife lodge http://www.lions-safari-intl.com (170$): avoid this hotel!! We paid 170$ per night for what must have been the most lousy hotel of our trip to Rwanda/Tanzania and one of the worst price/quality hotels we've ever been to in our life.
We stayed there 2 nights (before & after our Mt. Meru climb), and we were the only guests.
The pool hasn't been cleaned in over a decade, the waiter looked like he ran away from the Addams Family, there are goats maintaining the grass in front of the rooms, electricity runs only between 6pm & 10pm (too expensive to put the generator on all day), the rooms were nice in the 70s but have not been updated since, bathroom really crappy with cracks in the shower wall, at night there are torch lights shining (we thought the guy who herds the goats), the bread at breakfast was really old...
Plus you have to pay 35$ per person in park fees to Arusha national park when you want to reach or leave the hotel (one time entry fee...)
After complaining to the manager he did gave us a discount and mentioned that they would start renovation works soon...
Most mid-range and upmarket hotels provide mosquito nets, best check beforehand if they do.
between Arusha & Ngorogoro crater there are quite some petrol stations in the major villages, just take the largest ones to be sure of petrol quality.
Camping in the parks:
this was super! We camped at NCAA (simba A campsite) which was very crowed and also at Lake Manyara where we were the only ones.
The camp sites are not fenced so we saw zebra and elephant at the far end of the camping in the dark.
But we never felt unsafe.
Public vs special campsites: we often wondered what the difference was: special campsites don’t have facilities and they need to be booked in advance. They are often at better locations than the public ones.
park fees are valid for 24h hours, if you miss your deadline you have to pay an additional 24h.
At each entry gate you have to register yourself & the car (remember the license plate). Foreign cars pay more.
• dallah dallah scam: some touts who sell dallah dallah tickets charge you 1.500TSH pp extra – try to buy the ticket from the official staff (they wear jackets in blue)
our tout was even more greedy: afterwards he told a story that foreigners need a permit to ride on a dallah dallah and this costed an additional 1.500TSH pp. The bus company would get into trouble at police checkpoints etc. We weren’t inclined to pay additionally and when the bus left, he jumped off…
• Two tables restaurant: recommended! We didn’t book in advance but it was no problem. Food was delicious (and so much food) and we met some really nice other travellers as you sit along two tables with 15 seats (hence the name of the restaurant)
• A quite overlooked place is Sunset Restaurant (next to the post office), not far from the Portuguese arch on the main road.
• We stayed at Warere town house http://www.warere.com (55$ or 65$) – very nice hotel with AC, Wifi, and a nice rooftop where they serve breakfast.
Exit tax: for flights leaving the mainland/Zanzibar, there is an additional exit tax of 5$ pp since June 2012.
Not clear but in Arusha there were signs that you have to pay 40$ exit tax when flying to other countries – From Zanzibar we didn't have to pay.
Cell phone reception: was good everywhere we went (Taragire, Lake Manyara, NCAA, Arusha, Zanzibar) except in Arusha NP.
If you have questions, just ping me.
Oct 6, 2012 3:39 AM
Oct 6, 2012 8:08 AM
Oct 11, 2012 2:34 AM
Oct 11, 2012 9:08 AM
4Thanks for the report.
Just to clarify something about the departure tax. It used to be Tsh 5000 for domestic, $ 25 (maybe 20 or 30, not sure anymore) for international departures from Zanzibar. For departures from other Tanzanian airports there was no additional tax, even for international flights - I hope you are wrong about what you read in Arusha.
This year was the first time we paid only $5 for our international departure from Zanzibar.
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